Consumer interest in information regarding novel food technologies in Italy: The case of irradiated foods.


Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Building 4, 90128 Palermo, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


Recent food crises and uncertainty regarding food quality have pushed consumers towards a growing need to know more about the foods they purchase, including information related to both food quality and production. This paper identifies the main factors affecting consumer interest in receiving information on food irradiation technology. An online survey was used for research purposes and a total of 392 people, living in Italy, were questioned. Findings revealed that 89.2% of Italian consumers are interested in receiving information on the treatment of foods with ionizing radiation aimed at raising product safety. In particular, this interest was greater for respondents who reported a high sensitivity to food safety issues, who had already or who have unwittingly purchased irradiated foods, and those with a higher level of education. The results also underlined that a problem of misinformation exists among Italian consumers regarding irradiation technology, and that specific food education programs in the schools promoted by the ministry of education and promotional campaigns supported by public and private institutions, aimed at creating greater awareness and attitude among consumers about irradiated products, are necessary.


Consumer behaviour,Food products,Information asymmetry,Irradiated food,Italy,Novel technologies,Probit model,